Even as the coronavirus has killed more than 350 people in China, the latest studies have hinted that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through the faecal matter. The virus is usually detected through the respiratory system, but doctors from China and America found the virus in patients' faecal matter and in their anal tissues.
The first analysis was made from the loose stool of the first patient infected with the virus in the US. The latest analysis also reveals further similarities between SARS and the Wuhan viruses. It is assumed that diarrhea in patients trigger the faster spread of the virus.
This is a similar trait observed in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus. The findings by both the Chinese and the American studies suggest that there can be a "faeces-to-mouth" transmission.
More insights emerge
New England Journal of Medicine published a study that led to the conclusion that the loose stools also contain the threads of the virus which can also lead to the virus spreading. There have been continuous comparisons between the Wuhan virus and the SARS outbreak that happened nearly 20 years ago. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that around 10-20 percent of the SARS patients had experienced diarrhea.
Following the findings from America, China has also confirmed on the basis of their research that it can be transmitted through the digestive system and into human faeces. This would mean that even human vomit can lead to contracting the disease.
The 35-year-old man who was treated in the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington was the first patient in the US. Scott Lindquist, the state epidemiologist for infectious disease at Washington's Department of Health told the media that the finding was interesting.
So far there has been no proper conclusion as to how it can be transferred but it is said that it can be transmitted when the people come in contact with an infected person's virus-containing droplets when they cough which can even be stuck to a surface that would come in contact with other people.
First sign is not always fever
Doctors in Wuhan have reported diarrhea as an infrequent symptom among the patients. But, it is more commonly seen in patients outside Wuhan. The new coronaviruses are being called pneumoenteric viruses because it can be seen in both the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal system.
The experts from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences noted that the first sign is not always the fever, but can be diarrhea. The team found viral nucleic acids in patients' stool and rectal swabs as well.
China has been trying to understand the cases in-depth but the overwhelming number of patients has made the task impossible. Several countries across the world are trying to build a vaccine or at least understand how to contain the virus.